No Middle Name

The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories

[Amazon Link]

Bottom line (up here at the top): Reacher stories are pretty good, too. Not better, not worse, just different. Lee Child gets to play around, experiment a bit. When he's having fun, the reader does too. There's no doubt about that. It's a collection of twelve stories, four of which I'd already read, either as Kindle singles or as paperback extras. But I had fun re-reading them.

Random notes:

  • In one 43-page story, Reacher doesn't even show up until eight pages from the end.

  • As always, ultra-Dickensian coincidence plays a major role in the yarns where Reacher is out of the Army, just wandering around the world. He always somehow seems to fall into the middle of some skulduggery, conspiracy, or mystery. (Just one exception, and it's kind of sweet. I'll let you find it.)

  • A couple of stories involve Young Reacher, one as a thirteen-year-old with his Marine family in Okinawa, one as a sixteen-year-old in New York. Even back then, recognizably Reacher.

  • In one story, there are major characters named Aaron, Bush, Cook, and Delaney. In another: Alice, Briony, Christine, and Darwen. Reacher remarks on the latter coincidence. I don't mind this sort of thing that much, but it took me out of the stories a bit, wondering why Lee Child did that.

  • Reacher beats the crap out of one or more deserving characters in many of the stories. And displays his super-Sherlockian powers of observation and deduction in many too. I didn't keep careful track of how many of each, though, sorry.

URLs du Jour


Proverbs 15:18 is another fortune cookie candidate:

18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,
    but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Patience, of course, is one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues, and is held in opposition to the Deadly Sin of Wrath.

Our pic du jour is an illustration of someone patiently waiting to calm a quarrel.

■ Charles C. W. Cooke just became an American citizen last week, and he's already griping: The Age of Majority Is a Mess.

When is a person an “adult”? When are they deemed to be independent, responsible, their own master? Does anyone care, except when seeking a temporary political advantage? As I type, some Americans are trying to raise the age at which one may buy a rifle from 18 to 21 — usually on the grounds that one’s brain isn’t developed until one reaches 25. At the same time, many of the same people are arguing for lowering the voting age to 16 — and possibly younger. What’s the rationale? It is often glibly asserted that voting never hurt anyone. Does anyone familiar with history believe that to be remotely true?

Not me. Here in NH, there are currently bills being considered to (a) raise the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21; and (b) lower the age for consuming alcohol from 21 to 20.

■ A funny post by Damon Root at the Reason blog notes a Supreme Court exchange between Justice Alito and lawyer Daniel Rogan, who argued in favor of Minnesota's ban on a "vast array of political badges, buttons, insignias, and other attire at polling places." It’s OK to Ban Voters From Wearing 2nd Amendment T-Shirts at the Polls, Minnesota Tells SCOTUS.

Justice Alito: How about a shirt with a rainbow flag? Would that be permitted?

Mr. Rogan: A shirt with a rainbow flag? No, it would be—yes, it would be—it would be permitted unless there was—unless there was an issue on the ballot that—that related somehow to—to gay rights….

Justice Alito: Okay. How about an NRA shirt?

Mr. Rogan: An NRA shirt? Today, in Minnesota, no, it would not, Your Honor. I think that that's a clear indication—and I think what you're getting at, Your Honor—

Justice Alito: How about a shirt with the text of the Second Amendment?

Mr. Rogan: Your Honor, I—I—I think that that could be viewed as political, that that—that would be—that would be —

Justice Alito: How about the First Amendment?


Laughter, indeed.

[Amazon Link] Again with the "here in New Hampshire" connection: Section 659:43 of our legal code contains:

No person shall distribute, wear, or post at a polling place any campaign material in the form of a poster, card, handbill, placard, picture, pin, sticker, circular, or article of clothing which is intended to influence the action of the voter within the building where the election is being held.

The fine can be up to $1000, so think hard before you order the t-shirt over there on your right.

■ As Buck Murdock once noted: Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has an article confirming that proverb: After Florida school shooting, ‘Worst Colleges for Free Speech’ promising high schoolers a right to protest.

In the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and many more injured, school districts nationwide are warning students that they could face suspensions and other disciplinary measures for participating in walkouts and protests over guns and gun violence. Now, a number of colleges have released statements with an encouraging message for high school students who want to speak their mind on this issue: Engaging in peaceful protest won’t impact your college admission status.

As you might expect, the University Near Here has joined the mighty chorus; to do otherwise might impact the school's already dismal finances:

As I commented: But once you get here... Make sure to follow the dress code for Cinco de Mayo and Halloween. And there are other areas where you might want to tread cautiously.

Lifezette notes The Son Attempting to Rise: Son of Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders Is Seeking Seat in New Hampshire. Again, he wants to be my CongressCritter, despite living in Claremont, which is on the NH-Vermont border, the other end of the state from my Congressional district.

Andy Sanborn, a Republican running for the 1st District, slammed Sanders on Tuesday as an “out-of-district socialist” whose views don’t align with the state’s motto, “Live Free or Die.”

"I am appalled, but not surprised, [that] Bernie Sanders is sending his socialist son here to dismantle our state motto," Sanborn said in a statement. "We are a state that believes in personal freedom, personal liberty, and individual rights, yet Sanders' socialist views look to turn New Hampshire residents into government-controlled zombies, where you lose the right to think for yourself, act for yourself, and live free."

Andy Sanborn has his campaign website up and running, and it contains Pun Salad bait:

Known for his quick wit, inability to spell, sharp financial acumen and fierce loyalty to friends and family, this 4th generation NH native unabashedly fights for limited government, economic opportunities for all and as his friend US Senator Rand Paul says, “A government so small we can barely see it.”

I might remain a registered Republican just so I can vote for Sanborn in the primary.

■ At NR, Alexandra DeSanctis notes what should be obvious: NRA Critics Ignore Political Influence of Planned Parenthood. A factoid:

Planned Parenthood also — and unlike the NRA — rakes in over half a billion dollars in government funding each year. The group then turns around and spends much of that money not only to fund abortion procedures for low-income women (albeit indirectly), but also to lobby the federal government for additional funding and elect Democratic politicians who will vote to eliminate restrictions on that funding, and on abortion itself.

Good luck getting anyone on the left to square that circle.

■ And New Hampshire is hitting above average in USNews comparisons of Best States.

Some states shine in health care. Some soar in education. Some excel in both – or in much more. The Best States ranking of U.S. states draws on thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens. In addition to health care and education, the metrics take into account a state’s economy, the opportunity and quality of life it offers people, its roads, bridges, internet and other infrastructure, its public safety and the fiscal stability of state government.

Spoiler: number one is Iowa. But NH is a solid fifth.

Last Modified 2018-03-02 4:23 PM EST